Life Lessons From The King’s Speech
First of all, let me state my disclaimer: I am NOT a movie critic, nor do I pretend to be. However, I am a lover of quality and films are no exception.
The King’s Speech is at the epitome of genius filmmaking – cinematography, acting, music and costumes. However, it’s the powerful storyline that caused a two-hour dinner discussion with my family about King George VI’s stammer and his adulthood quest to conquer it with the help of a very unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue.
Here are some of the takeaways from the Movie:
1. You decide your worth
That’s right, you must decide your value before you expect to receive accolades from the world. And, here’s the deal: it must come from within. I’ve seen it so many times. In fact, I know it personally all too well. From the outside, you seem to have it all – great job, health, body, friends, life – but you don’t embody your worth. You try to find it outside of you through praise, promotions, a certain weight or affections.
In the movie, the King of all people suffered from low self-esteem. He allowed his stammer to define his worth, instead of focusing on his strengths as a husband, leader and the inherent status he was born into.
What you focus on grows. Each time the King focused on his speech impediment and the fear of judgment, he lost his ability to talk without the stammer. However, when Lionel had him focus on his strengths and emphasized his worth, the King managed to speak with less stammer and more confidence.
You cannot, and I repeat, cannot wait for others to determine your own worth. You will be waiting for a long, long time. It is up to you to decide how you want to show up in the world, and then it’s up to you to put your big girl panties on and just do it.
Then, and only then, will people begin to see you the way you desire to be seen?
Enough said about that! Movin’ on…
2. You don’t need a bunch of credentials
Lionel Logue, the speech therapist who was the key player in helping King George VI overcome his speech impediment, didn’t have a college degree or certification. What he did possess was a passion for helping people find their voice and a proven track record for providing results.
I’ve seen people chase more credentials than will fit on an application line in order to feel qualified and worthy. For some, there’s never enough. They are always seeking more external validation and education. I’m not against initials behind a name. In fact, I have a couple behind my own. However, I think it’s important to examine why you desire more qualifications. Is it for the love of learning or maybe it’s necessary for the path you desire to go down? Or, is it coming from a place of not feeling good enough and fear of being judged as incompetent? I hate to break it to you but another degree won’t necessarily take care of that issue.
By the way, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates don’t have initials behind their names, other than CEO and multi-gazillionaire, both of which were self-appointed.
3. Unorthodox is where it’s at!
The King worked with many “traditional” speech therapists who followed normal modes of treatment. However, it was Logue’s unorthodox approach that created results – singing his words, using “shit” and “fuck” as catalysts for speaking and having the Queen sit on the King’s chest as he breathed through his diaphragm.
Many people try to create lives, bodies and businesses based on what they’re told they “should” be doing – such as creating a thirty-page business plan, getting an MBA, joining a gym, cutting out all the carbs, joining the PTO, coach a certain way, and don’t forget to put your kid into every activity under the sun and run yourself ragged as a result. Simply put, you become ordinary and miserable.
Let me ask you a question. Who do you pay attention to? The traditionalists or those who are paving their own eccentric way? Amazing, stellar, extraordinary, excellence….these things are never ordinary. They’re birthed by extremely unorthodox people.
4. Find someone who believes in you
Lionel Logue believed in the King’s ability to be great long before the King realized it in himself. When you surround yourself with someone who believes in you, refuses to buy into your “sad” story and stands by you when you feel that you can’t take another step, you’re already ahead in your game of life.
I say it often, and I’ll say it again: support is the key to success.
5. You have a voice
Perhaps the biggest lesson of The King’s Speech is this: you have a voice. You have something unique to share, a story that needs to be heard, a talent that needs to be offered. People often hide their voices behind excess weight, mediocre lives and suppressed desires. As with King George VI, fear is the culprit – fear of imperfection, judgment, failure and even success. What’s your story? What are you dying to say?
Don’t worry if you’re not sure. Finding your voice takes time and patience, but it can’t be found if you dare to speak. When you begin to share your voice, you begin to taste the freedom of being you.
6. Fear is to be managed, not avoided
When the King entered the room with Logue and the microphone to deliver his speech, he was not without fear. In fact, you could sense the fear by the look in his eyes, the beads of perspiration on his brow and the initial tremor of his voice. However, Logue was there to remind him that he had a job to do, and he was bigger than the fear. Fear is part of the human experience. It serves a purpose: to keep us alive, but in our modern society, fear is most often unnecessary and destructive. If not managed, it can keep you from living the life you desire.
Steven Pressfield writes, “Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five. In other words, fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.” Look at fear like this: it’s there to keep things the same. If you are 50 pounds overweight, fear will scare you into continuing your destructive patterns. If you are stuck in a cubicle in a job you hate, fear will convince you that you could never pursue what you love. If you desire to seek support for your goals, fear will tell you that you cannot afford it and that you shouldn’t invest in yourself.
Here’s the bad news: fear doesn’t go away. If you try to avoid it, you’ll never change. But, there’s good news. Once you learn to move through it, you become unstoppable. Someone recently asked me how I was so comfortable doing some of the things I do. I chuckled, “I’m rarely comfortable. In fact, I am most often scared to death.” Fear lets me know that I’m on the right path. Fear doesn’t care if you are a king or a janitor. It will make every attempt to stop you. Despite the fear, King George VI completed his speech and comforted the nation during a time of war.
Beyond fear, what will you do?
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